One of my favorite things in football, is when a player proves the media and “experts” wrong, and just turns out to be a star in college or once they get to the NFL. Last night, at around 2 in the morning, I was watching a documentary on Tom Brady, specifically about how he dropped to the 199th pick, with six other quarterbacks being drafted before him.
Brady definitely wasn’t the highest rated QB coming out of Michigan, his NFL Combine was laughed. Heck, he wasn’t he good enough to start at college consistently. Yet, he got his chance, and obviously has done the most with it.
On this day 18 years ago, the Patriots drafted Michigan QB Tom Brady in the 6th round of the NFL draft.— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 16, 2018
And the rest is history. pic.twitter.com/qDpogNmPmQ
Those are the stories I love in sports in general, but especially football. I’m such a huge fan of the underdog making it in football, the guy that was doubted and then proved those doubters wrong. That’s why I love the story about Jimmy Murphy so much, walk-on player who earned that scholarship and became a crucial part on special teams for the Hurricanes.
Another favorite story of mine, non-related to Miami, is Wayne Chrebet. This wide receiver from Hofstra went undrafted because he was short, and well, he went to Hofstra. He ended up making the Jets, and wound up playing 11 years in New York and became one of the best receivers in franchise history.
This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, mainly because the NFL Combine just passed, and you hear draft experts critique these players on things like the 40-yard dash and the bench press. I’m not saying those tests aren’t important, because they wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t, but there’s just so much more in analyzing a football player.
I should mention, I’m not doing this to bash the media and sports analysts at all, because they’re very good at what they do. They’ve obviously been right a lot more than they’ve been wrong, that’s why they have the jobs that they do. It’s just a great story when someone like Ed Reed is just a two-star recruit out of high school, and then is passed over in the Draft, and becomes one of the best football players we’ve ever seen.
I was a 2 star recruit... now HOF. Beyond thankful pic.twitter.com/fOb8MWkuMX— Ed Reed (@TwentyER) February 2, 2019
Going into the 2002 NFL Draft, the big knock on safety Ed Reed was that he wasn’t six-feet tall, he didn’t run a 4.4 40, and his athleticism was questioned heavily. The greatest safety in NFL history dropped all the way to the 24th pick, when the Ravens selected him.
One draft pick I never understood, and likely because I was too young at the time and we didn't have internet media like we have today... but how in the world did Ed Reed last to 24 in the 2002 draft? I remember him being an absolute star in college. Never made sense to me.— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) June 27, 2019
The day after Reed was drafted, a reporter for a Baltimore news outlet said the following about the pick, “There was no magic yesterday, just Ed Reed. Another draft. Just another player.” Yes, that is a real quote.
Ed Reed made the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Just did a Google search about him and found the Baltimore Sun article from draft night, 2002:— Andrea Adelson (@aadelsonESPN) February 6, 2019
"Let's face it: Reed is a pick without pizazz"
Reed’s teammate in Baltimore for many years, and fellow former Hurricane, Ray Lewis, was said to be undersized for a linebacker, and dropped until the 26th pick. Lewis is in the Hall of Fame, and one of the greatest middle linebackers in NFL history.
Ray Lewis was an overachiever. Fell to 26th in draft b/c undersized inside 'backer. Dominated w/ his head and heart more than great talent.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 3, 2013
How about Frank Gore? That one guy who just happens to be third all-time in career rushing yards in the NFL. He wasn’t drafted until San Francisco picked him up in the third round. THE THIRD ROUND!
Ronnie Brown (1-2), Cedric Benson (1-4) & Cadillac Williams (1-5) were the first three RBs taken in the 2005 NFL Draft and combined for 15,446 career rushing yards.— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) November 10, 2019
Frank Gore (3-65), who went in the 3rd round and was the 6th RB taken, has run for 15,185 yards in his career
The obvious concern surrounding Gore was if he could stay healthy, and his longevity was a major question being asked, and rightfully so, because he had plenty of injury problems at Miami. Years later, longevity still hasn’t been a problem, and it was reported last week that Gore is planning on returning for his 16th season in the pros.
Frank Gore - a guy whose injury durability was a major question mark as a draft prospect - is like 500 yards away from overtaking Barry Sanders on the all-time rushing list.— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) December 24, 2018
If he does play his FIFTEENTH season, he'll likely get him.
There really are so many cases of Hurricanes dropping in the Draft. Five-time Pro Bowl selection Jimmy Graham went in the 3rd round, the fact that he was a college basketball player scared people off. Jessie Armstead was also a five-time Pro Bowler, and he didn’t go until the 8th round, injuries was his problem.
People even like to bring up Warren Sapp’s experience at the Draft. Due to off-the field problems, Sapp was passed over by several teams, even though he was expected to be a top-five pick prior to reports. Sapp dropped down to the 12th pick, went to Tampa Bay and was one of the foundations for their Super Bowl run in 2002. Oh and also, Sapp is in the Hall of Fame and regarded as one of the best defensive tackles in football history.
Jim Burt wasn't even drafted, but ended up becoming a Pro Bowl defensive tackle and was a key part on the Giants defense that won two Super Bowls. You know who else was undrafted? Jim Otto, the Hall of Famer. Times were different in 1960, and we obviously didn’t have Mel Kiper Jr. critiquing every little thing, but to think a Hall of Famer wasn’t picked back in the day when there was about 45 rounds in the draft, insane.
Only one undrafted player in NFL history has been picked to more Pro Bowls than Jason Peters. That's Hall of Fame center Jim Otto.— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) December 21, 2016
Even when you look at a player like Gregory Rousseau, real lanky 3-star prospect out of high school, where his coaches played him even at safety and receiver in addition to defensive line. Looked at by many as a “project” player, Rousseau shut up all of the experts in 2019 by racking up 15.5 sacks, and establishing himself as perhaps the best defensive end in all of college football.
Just goes to show you, there are certain things you can’t measure when it comes to a football player.